Archive for the ‘Made Me Laugh’ Category

Ogmore Suite, Seabank Hotel, Porthcawl, Mid-Glamorgan, Wales   Leave a comment

Pub #2174:

We first went to the Seabank Hotel for a drink at the Smuggler’s Bar before a concert a couple of years ago and really liked the building so we booked a room there for a brief getaway.  The last night of our stay there was supposed to be a comedian in the bar at 8:30 so we headed down for cocktails only to find the Smuggler’s closed.  “The Ogmore is open,” an employee helpfully noted and we headed over to the other bar.

I’ve been joking about the advanced age of the citizenry of Porthcawl (funny because it’s true); but, we were the youngest hotel guests by at least a couple of decades (a fact that drew attention and, I believe, more generous portions).

So there we were, no shit, in the Ogmore (which I suspect is Welsh for “God’s Waiting Room”) waiting with the ghosts for a comedian who would not arrive (so, maybe “Godot’s Waiting Room”).  They were having Bingo in there, instead, and we finished up the last round to the mellifluous accent of the caller.

We were each fighting a cold when we travelled but it got steadily worse during our stay.  I came to be convinced that we were being milked of our vitality by the building for this hive of ancients.  One case in point came the first evening when an old man drunkenly emerged in front of me and creakily bent to pick up some debris on the carpet.  I cleared my throat, hoping to pass, but he slowly stood not-quite-upright, considered his treasure, then discarded it in a plant pot.  He then turned to me and I realised he was no more than 45 years old…crikey, is this a pensioner’s version of Get Out, or what?

The next morning, I was surveying the coast from our room and realised there were coach trip people milling around a couple of buses.  Oh, I thought, this is a holiday destination for people who have been coming here since the War.  Down at breakfast, they were everywhere.  Our table was near the one set aside for their drivers and some of the old women (identifying themselves as “The Golden Girls,” even though the youngest could have been Bea Arthur’s granny) came over to try to seduce the gents.

We left with full-blown cases of flu, weakened in direct proportion to these women’s increase in libido and vitality.  While possibly unrelated, I’m feeling much better and younger now a few days after leaving.

Oh, the drinks in the Ogmore are dirt cheap and not at all bad.

 

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Crimes Against Humanity   Leave a comment

 

The Citizenship application, here, includes a lot of potentially disqualifying acts, the specific language being

3.9 In times of peace or war have you ever been involved in, or suspected of involvement in, war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide?

I think the great British public could get behind adding,

Or, have you ever made a decent — or even strong — cup of coffee or given succor to someone who has done so?

That would be the test for belonging here.  Hopefully, that test will not be made retroactive (it’s part of my culture).

{note: this was at the Seabank Hotel…I don’t have data on other Porthcawl locations that will appear, here, in due course}

Posted October 6, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Made Me Laugh

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HIGNFY Taping 04 October 2018 Elstree Studios   1 comment

 

The first episode of the new series of Have I Got News For You  was also the first in the new location, Elstree Studios.  We had tickets the night after a weird holiday (so behind on these updates, but generally a freaky trip to be written soon) and just now finished watching the edit out for broadcast.  Really neat to see the crappy set then and now, the way it looks all slick and professional on tele.

Guests were Naga Munchetty and Josh Widdicombe, with regulars Ian Hislop and Paul Merton joined by Alexander Armstrong who is always good.

About five minutes in, there was a power outage on the autocue and the microphones so we got some vaudeville jokes from Paul. Back on, shortly, the rapid news cycle these days makes further description of the content ineffable.

 

 

The new location. Elstree Studios, is where Are You Being Served? was shot.  My favourite Bill Murray film, The Razor’s Edge, was largely filmed here as were The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyKick-Ass, and The King’s Speech (I’m a sucker for stuttering stories).  We were across the road and a couple of streets over, but if you threw a cricket ball over these houses just off the path to the rail station you could knock a window out of the Queen Vic on Albert Square.

It took two hours and fifteen minutes from the arrival of the compère to the end of retakes, or four hours from joining the queue to egress. With another hour to return home, maybe this will be the last time.

 

The Wah-Wahs and Mudlarking   1 comment

 

 

I went mudlarking Tuesday on the polyp-like Rotherhithe peninsula (I don’t know what it is really called) and the Wah-Wahs weighed heavy on my mind.  Here’s a wee (or, ‘Wah’) story to explain, somewhat, what I’m on about and the lasting impact of the phenomenon (right up to this very day).

I blacked out as the Wah-Wahs enveloped me and I regained consciousness miles away in the driver’s seat of my 1974 Monte Carlo which I remembered as needing some new rod bearings.  The skies were the colour of Prince’s duster in the Purple Rain video, the red clay in the logging road on which I was parked was vibrant.  The tick-tick-tick of the billy club on the window was ever more insistent and I heard a stern voice demanding, “Open the door, sir.  Sir?  Right NOW, open…the…DOOR!”  I looked at my hand, still gripping the large bin liner still relatively full of R22 refrigerant (chloro-difluoromethane, HCF2Cl) the bag pushing gently on my chest and the steering wheel opposite.  I looked over and just as I made eye contact with the State Trooper very close to shattering my windscreen, he shattered into a mosaic of a million pieces and dissolved away.

 

 

As the shards rearranged themselves, I was actually not at all miles away in my car but still sitting on the couch in the rental house at least some of us were paying rent on.  The bag, indeed, was still in my lap but there were several panicked looking faces circled around me with Mark (the manager of the Turtles record store in town and one of the actual housemates) gripping my shirt with both fists and shaking me so violently that the sputum I was emitting was in our hair, on the window sill (I don’t remember there being glass in the window), and on the floor.  I wiped my face with my sleeve and said, slowly, “wwwwwwwwwwwwowwwwwwww!”  Two of the meat suits animating those previously panicked faces, upon seeing my sudden recovery, each grabbed for the bag, and Pat M came away with it.  In one continuous move held the open end over most of his face, squeezed the bladder-like portion, said something in a monstrously low voice, slipped on some of my sputum, landed on his back on the coffee table, and commenced to violently convulse long after we grabbed for our beers and the table collapsed.

Still stunned, I asked if that’s what happened with me.  “No, dude, you just ceased.”  Now about 40 seconds into his seizure, Pat emerged as suddenly as it had taken hold, and asked how long he’d been gone.  Such is the nature of Freon huffing.

 

 

I tried several entrances to the foreshore but only managed short segments of treasure hunting before the waters closed off access and I would be forced to go back up the wall and find my next entrance.  I wasn’t heavily into the treasure hunting aspects of it, though, happy to merely walk the secluded beaches and debris fields slowly emerging as the tide receded.  At the ferry to the Isle of Dogs I was cut off again but was able to wade around (above) the submerged bit without swamping my Wellies.

We got started doing Freon because, VC, another of our associates had driven me to Rose’s Department Store in his cripple-van (another episode of excess, a year or so earlier, found him crumpled in a car wreck with a broken neck).  I needed some car parts and while I was digging through the shelves he rolled up with a couple of cans of R12 freon (dichlorodifluoromethane, CF2Cl2) and a massive grin asking, “do you know how to use these?” in his distinctively nasal voice.  I knew he meant huffing it — we’d both mentioned that we did this as younger kids while our dads were refilling the car AC compressors — but I didn’t have a valve nor the money to buy one (and, wouldn’t we need a balloon so it would warm up a bit out of the can?  answer: no, just don’t get the liquid form on you).  He swung his begloved hand out of the bag draped over his wheelchair seat displaying the ice pick he had already shoplifted adding, “We’ll use this!”

[Side note: I once saw our VC get hustled out of another shop for nicking shit and he got away with it by screaming down the house: “you’re only doing this to me because I’m a cripple!”].

 

Cans of R12 similar to those we used

 

Sitting near the Putt-Putt course at the far end of the desolate car park, he balanced one of the cans upright in his lap, held the ice pick over its top with his left hand, and smacked it hard with the padded glove palm of his right.  The ice pick flew free but didn’t cause any damage; he stopped the liquid/gas flow out of the can with his thumb, held these a few inches from his mouth, then released it a bit to take in a huge lungful.  “Oh, yeah, this is GREAT!” he said, loudly and about 4 octaves lower than his normal voice (Freon is a lot heavier than air).  Then, he fell out onto the parking surface and I ran around to collect the can, now spewing all over the place…waste not, want not.  We finished that first can sitting on the pavement leaning against the front tire of the van.

 

 

A friend was in town from the States.  I say, “friend,” but we really haven’t seen each other in decades.  She and her husband begged off the foreshore walk despite an offer of a joint put in as a sweetener (they’re from California where weed is legal, so it wasn’t really much to offer).  Waste not, want not as the saying goes.

We started buying (and stealing) cases of this stuff as, over the next couple of weeks, more and more members of our circle of trippers began to participate (most of us with a case of localised frostbite to show for it).  One day, the little cannisters disappeard as a large, green tank freshly acquired from the roof unit above the multiplex cinema replaced it.  This was the R22 from the first paragraph and it seemed to have a much more intense mode of action.  R12 would have a few seconds onset where a cyclic, pounding/wind rush noise would engulf the user (these are the Wah-Wahs) ahead of 20-30 seconds of geometric visuals and perhaps a little glimpse at death from the user’s perspective.  Within 45-60 seconds, it is as if nothing had ever happened and you are ready for more.  A can split between a couple of guys will do about 10 times apiece; split 6 ways, it also did about 10 shots apiece due to less spillage.

The R22 tank was supercharged in that, while only lasting the same time to maybe 30 seconds longer, it was much less predictable and, often, much less fun because the trips lasted so much longer inside than anyone observing could possibly realise and mined personal inventories for their deepest and darkest insecurities.  R22 was the shit, and outrageously dangerous shit at that.  I still am baffled that no one died of it, directly, during that summer.  At one point, we were filling a bin bag with it and doing it out in my folks’ pond in about 8 meters of water.

 

The debris fields along the Thames are puzzling.  The walk along the Isle of Dogs a few months ago had one stretch that was mostly gravestone fragments and another that had an unusually high number of tampon applicators.  These U-shaped chunks of metal roughly 4 inches by 6 inches are strewn for 200 meters along this bank in plain site of the Tampon-Epitaph Beach.  What are they?  My guess was either some sort of large staple or broken links of chains (the more poetic of the two options).

Which brings me to the memories dredged up on this trip to the foreshore.

I had the keys to a house in Griffin Georgia in sort of a caretaker capacity for retirees to the Gulf Coast near Tampa in — I’m reasonably sure it was — 1984.  My duties were to keep an eye on it so that the sort of parties I was having there would not occur there in their absence and, in exchange, I could use the lake and premises in moderation.

There were about a dozen of us in and around the place, all tripping on some very good blotter but kicking it into overdrive with occasional blasts of the industrial Freon. When the owners walked in, I was sitting at the piano with CLW who was absolutely (and tunelessly) slapping the keys with both hands while banging out timpani on the front of the piano with the foot that he somehow got stuck in an umbrella stand an hour or so earlier.  There were several people having a tug-of-war with VC in his wheelchair in water deep enough to cover the wheels but not quite up to his chest.  RMA, who had been sitting with me and the erstwhile pianist, was just pulling her head out of a 6-inch-wide and inch deep dent she had just put in the plaster a few inches above the floor (R22 was involved).

That young woman with the massive bruise on her forehead is now quite middle-aged and visiting London (but, notably, NOT the waterside).  I was going to meet up with her and hers at a pub after the mudlarking, today.  But, I like this memory the way it is so I just picked up my treasure hunting bits and went to a different pub to send some bullshit excuse via email as our reunion meeting time loomed:

 

 

It’s not at all a great memory, though.  Of the people at the lake house that day, CLW became an ambulance chasing lawyer; I believe DH is now a drama professor; Pat’s a photographer. There were musicians, TMcB now part of the local canon in Athens Georgia, RMA a singer-songwriter (when it strikes her fancy, and despite the head injury described).  Our VC (musician) eventually committed suicide with prescription meds and another musician, Eric T, blew his head off with the handgun he suggested he and VC should use to shoot me on stage, y’know, for publicity (his brother, Kent, who was also there, died of an accidental drug overdose sometime in the early 1990’s). Yet another guy, Steve B, beat all of them for elan by killing himself with a nail gun squeezed to his temple.  There were others, but the statistically relevant sample of 10 shows 2 academics, 1 scumbag lawyer, 6 artists/musicians.  There were among those listed 3 eventual suicides plus 1 “death by misadventure” (that I am aware of).

 

 

 

There’s almost always something too big or heavy to carry home.  This bar is about 4 feet long and would make a great fireplace poker but I decided to leave it be.

I spent years before, during, and after these events honing a skill that has stood me well.  When someone calls out my name on the street or otherwise in public, I don’t react, flinch, give any acknowledgement that I am who they think I am.  I have actually been cornered by people who, it turned out after convincing them they have my doppelgänger and not me, were folks I actually was glad to see and I had to chase them down to explain this.

The Wah-Wah memories didn’t inspire confidence in the original plans for today.  34 years is just not long enough, yet.

 

 

You damn, dirty apes!  God damn you all to Hell!”

Wah-WAH-wah-wah-WAH-WAH-WAH-wah-wah-wah-wah-wah-WAH-WAH-WAH-WAH-wah-WAH-WAH-WAH-wah-wah-wah….

 

 

This week I have been mostly listening to …   Leave a comment

 

Not only Martin Mull (wearing my cousin’s baseball uniform, seen above, from Macon Central HS not far from Capricorn Records Studios), but a host of oddball records I got in the 70’s (everyone needs at least one Johnny Puleo and the Harmonica Gang disc in their collection).  Anyway, here’s a favourite track from “No Hits;” I give you Jesus Is Easy:

 

 

Probably no need to explain the “This Week I Have Been Mostly…” thread to Brits, here is the origin story of that one:

 

 

 

Posted August 3, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Made Me Laugh, music

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This Week I Have Been Mostly Reading …   1 comment

 

I don’t have many people at work I consider friends and one of them left the labs for good, yesterday, frustrated by the nonsense in the University, the Department, the lab and his research group.  He lasted nearly 2 years before The Great Funk (not the good kind, either) set in.  The brightest burn out the quickest (while a dim bulb like meself carries on toward the 10 year mark).  We didn’t have many conversations but every one of them was engrossing, intense, and completely free range (not free ranging, but free range, like chickens pecking at the soil).  During one of these, an offhand comment about acid during a longer discussion of one of my frequent head injuries (the one where I was struck by a falling tree whilst running in a snowstorm near Athens, Georgia) stuck with him; not a tripper himself but open to it, he applied his freakish eidetic memory to a choice of parting gifts and presented me with Michael Pollan’s How To Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics.  I am touched by this unusually thoughtful gift and I hope he knows how much I will cherish it (not least because I was going to buy it for myself when it comes out in a trades/paper edition).

I have also been reading my twit feed fairly regularly and recently added Existential Comics to list of followed accounts.  This is a recent one, typical of the genre:

 

 

Presidential Seal T-shirts   1 comment

 

No sir, thank you.  I’m using the seal on the anti-Trump march, Friday.  More later.

 

Posted July 7, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Drunken Bunny, Made Me Laugh, Politics

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